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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
5 Gallon Bucket Washer

1) 5 Gallon Bucket w/ lid. Hole in center of lid.
2) Clean plunger.

Plunger goes inside the bucket with handle sticking up through hole in lid. Churn the clothes with water and soap inside the bucket, using the plunger. You might want to go larger with a garbage can and longer handle on the plunger. Possibly one for washing and one for rinsing.
http://www.off-grid.net/2010/04/22/diy-washing-machine-and-homemade-laundry-soap/


The Wonder Wash!
website with a handwasher and small spinner-dryer.
http://www.laundry-alternative.com/washing.htm
http://www.earthmombooks.com/SimpleLiving.aspx


Here’s a demo:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yk-CK_2OmHk#

Non Electric Washing Machine
http://www.tinyhousetalk.com/2010/06/04/non-electric-washing-machine/


An old washtub with a scrub board
http://www.contentparadise.com/productdetails.aspx?id=12652


A mop bucket with wringer
http://www.parish-supply.com/mop_bucket_wringer.htm


Add kitchen gloves, simply to protect the skin from getting lye burns if using lye soap, and maybe safety glasses as well. Rough cracked skin could potentially be a point of injury or infection.

Can you think of any other ideas?
 

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On the Tales of the Green Valley, they basically bashed the clothes with a paddle and in some cultures they just wack the clothes against a nice big stone, while some others use a pummel rod to pound the clothes like they would wheat.
 

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I've used the five gallon bucket, ... works great and I know of sailors who towed their wash behind the boat in a five gallon bucket that just kept tumbling and tumbling, ... they had some kind of shaft going through the thing but they swore it cleaned cloths real good after only fifteen to twenty minutes of towing.

I could only do one pair of pants at a time, ... or five T-shirts.

I have also used the wash board a long time ago, ... I don't remember how well it worked because I was real young and didn't really give a crap. lol ... but I used it and rinsed out the cloths and wore them so it wasn't that bad.

I have a heavy duty scrub bucket like the one shown but have never used it for washing cloths that is!
 

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I use the wonderwasher now and still use my 5gln bucket with lid (no hole in lid). The bucket holds more and gives me ability to do long soaks, plus I don't have to do anything. The kids take it out and roll it around for fun, 30 mins later I've washed clothes ready to rinse and wring. :)

Wonderwasher does alright but it really shines when you can use warm or hot water. Just find it a bit small and whimpy. Had to build a wood stand for it since the plastic broke.

Not sure why people would use rough items to rub clothes on. Beating on rocks, rubbing on metal ridges does nothing but wear out the fabric faster. To clean--you need to force water through and that takes good agitation, even a nice soak then agitate. Never had clothes cleaner.
 

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I have the Wonder Wash and it really does get clothes clean. More so than a washer would. But it's time consuming to do even a small batch that way. So I ended up getting an old washboard and tub, plus finding a mop bucket that has a real wringer on it. That'll be my main battle plan when the time comes. I've also tried washing clothes in the bathtub with a turbo wash plunger and it did a really good job also.
 

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This is a very interesting topic to me right now because I have just moved out to my buddies farm where there is no washing machine or dryer and a couple days ago I began thinking that instead of a hindrance it would be an oppourtunity to practice washing clothes by hand and would give me the experience for any future scenario.

From my looking for different ways to do this, along with these ideas presented, I found some saying that if you just got two big buckets and filled one with the soapy water, let the clothes soak for a few minutes, then take them and kneed them in your hands like making bread or dough, that it would clean the clothes, and then the second bucket was clean water to rinse them in. Question would be does this sound about right? Still havent done it yet but I am running out of clean clothes and I need to do this soon. And I want to do it right the first time. Do it right, do it light, haha.

Also, what would be the proper way of drying them? Reason Im asking is because seeing the mop bucket idea with the ringer thing, is this a necessity when drying the clothes? I realize that I need to get as much of the water out of the clothes as possible before hanging them on the clothes line (which is how I plan on drying them) but is it necessary to squeeze them through something that hard or could I just ring them out with my hands?

Thanks for the thread, again this is something that I've been looking for for a couple of days now and I might try the plunger in the bucket idea after a while. Thanks. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

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I found a One Minute wringer washer on the curb during clean up week. It works like new and like a Maytag it can be run with a gas engine too.
 

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lol

I actually have a full sink of clothes soaking as we speak in the kitchen.

I moved into a place with no washer/dryer and no hookups for either.

So, I started doing it by hand, and it really isn't that bad. Now that my GF moved in with me, it's more a pain in the ass because we wash a LOT of clothes now.

I have your typical kitchen sink, with 2 sides to it that are equal in size.

I just plug both of them, and fill with water. I do have a sprayer nozzle with helps a lot with this process.

I then add soap, use the sprayer nozzle to slosh it around a little bit, and continue filling the sink. Once it get's to about 2/3 the way full, I kill the water and add clothes.

I shake them out first to get rid of loose dirt and hair (my GF seems to shed like a polar bear) and then stuff em in there. I add more clothes until one side is full. The thing is you don't want it TOO full because you want to be able to move the clothes around a little bit... It took me a few weeks of laundry to figure out just how many clothes I could squeeze in while it is still effective.

I do this to both sides.

When the sink is full, I squish the clothes around and flip them and squish some more, kind of like rolling dough. I make sure they are saturated and agitated. I do this for 2-3 mins on each side of the sink, and then I let them soak for an hour or two.

Then I come back and I really agitate them. 5-10 mins of agitation, then I move on to the other side of the sink and do the same for those clothes.

Then I pull the drain... I then turn on the sink, have my GF hold the sprayer nozzle and spray the clothes as I continue to knead them, flip them, squish them, etc etc for a few minutes, until the water that comes out of the pile when I push down is clear. Then we do the other load the same way.

Then I press as much water as I can out, and I wring dry them one by one, hang them on a hanger, and place them aside until they are all done.

I either hang them on the shower curtain rod or outside. Right now in AZ it is super hot and dry so outside works best, and it takes maybe an hour in the mid-day for a pair of jeans to dry.

When they are all dry (make sure they are DRY), bring them in, and beat them.

Yep, beat them. I take all my clothes, and kind of whip them around like a maniac in a frenzy... Pretend there is a spider on each piece of clothing... Grab it and whip it around and freak out :)
This will get the "stiffness" out of the clothes, and then viola, clean, dry, semi-soft clothes!

Also, if they still seem a little "stiff", just wear them... They will get soft in just a few minutes of moving around.
 

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Why not just retrofit a regular washing machine (front loader would be easier) with a bicycle? I've used one to turn a full 75 gallon cement mixer. I bet 15 gallons of clothes would be easy.
 

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I've read several articles on washing clothes the old way. One of them was about the James Washer which I've always wanted to get. Basically the most important aspect is letting the clothes soak in the soapy water for as long as possible before agitating. That lets the dirt loosen and it takes a lot less effort to get them clean.
 

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During the 2 weeks without electricity after hurricane Wilma our Haitian neighbor showed us how to make a 5gal bucket washer.

1. cut 3 1X4 just small enough to fit inside with the lid on
2. use drywall screws from the outside of the bucket through the bucket into the small side of 1X4
3. fill with laundry water and soap put the cover on and have the kids push it up and down the driveway and up and down the block.
4. pour out the dirty water and put rinse water in and have your kids push it around some more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Why not just retrofit a regular washing machine (front loader would be easier) with a bicycle? I've used one to turn a full 75 gallon cement mixer. I bet 15 gallons of clothes would be easy.
Would you happened to have pictures or plans for the set up?
 

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You can use your bath tub. Plug the tub and add your wash and about 4 inches of water by faucet or by bucket. Dip in your article and get it wet. Rub any stains or the dirty areas with what ever kind of soap or detergent you are using. Pay close attention to the collars, under arms, crotch, and knees of work clothes. Soaping and rubbing the spots between your fists. Then drop it in the tub of water. Do the next piece and so on.

Once you have a load, get in walk back and forth. :) Play some music if you have it, and dance a little.

You can put your children to it, or share the chore with your spouse and "get naked." :D:

Once you have marched or danced all over the clothes you have forced the soap and water through the fibers. Pull the plug and let the water drain out. march some more to get more of the soapy water out. Then plug the drain and add rinse water. You dance or march some more and drain again. Dance some more to get out excess water.

If you have a shower rod that has a compression spring, (find them at the dollar store,) you temporarily put the rod over the center of the tub, drape the clothes, and let them drip a while before carrying them out to the clothes line.

I have done this in a pinch years ago. When it comes to washing sheets and other large items this makes it easier than in a little wash tub. Think of all the exercise you will get. :)

If you are going to use a clothes line, remember to get it now. The "new" clothes lines are made out of vinyl coated cable and have special hardware for the ends.

I have a wrap around porch with no railing on the back side. I strung my cable there. This way the items do not get the strongest sun which can fade them. If it isn't windy, the rain doesn't hit them. If it is, I have cover to take them down. Even though I currently have 2 sets of front load machines, I use my line a lot. It is great for sleeping bags or airing pillows.

Lehmans Hardware on line sells a nice rack for drying small items like socks.


Do a search for laundry and you will see a lot of products from old fashioned to special washers in the photos in the posts above. http://www.lehmans.com/store/Home_Goods___Laundry?Args=&page_number=1
 

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